Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who is the coming "world ruler"

  • Who is the coming "world ruler"? 
  • What is his role in end-time prophecy? 
  • Will his appearance have any connection with the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem?

In Revelation 13:1 the apostle John states, "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." The ten horns of John's vision correspond to the ten toes of  Daniel's image in chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel. 

Let's investigate this account and see its importance in our discussion concerning the "coming world ruler.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of ancient Babylon, had a dream. 

However, he could not recall its content. Therefore, he called in his magicians, astrologers, and soothsayers, saying, not very politely, I might add, "Tell me what I dreamed, or I'll kill you." That certainly got their attention. 

However, they were stymied: They could not fulfill this bizarre request. 

However, Daniel, a young Jew and a man of prayer, fell on his knees three times a day before his God Jehovah and received the answer. 

{27The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; {28But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these . . . {31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. {32This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. {33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. {35Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. . . . {37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. {38. . . Thou art this head of gold. {39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. {40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. {41And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. (Daniel 2:27-28, 31-35, 37-41)

Those who scoff, ridicule, and slander the Word of God would be well advised to dust off their history books to discover the reliability of the Bible. In this passage we see that Daniel gave King Nebuchadnezzar an outline of world history down to the last days-events that have taken place precisely as God said they would. 

Daniel said, "You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are the head of gold (Babylon), but there will be two nations pictured by the arms of silver (the Medes and the Persians) who will destroy you. Then there will be a kingdom of brass (Greece), pictured by the stomach, which will destroy the Medes and the Persians. Next, the kingdom of iron (Rome), pictured by two legs, will smash Greece." 

Why two legs? 

Because at one time in history, the Roman Empire was divided, having headquarters both at Rome and Constantinople. Again, a historical fact.

Notice carefully that the only power not put out of existence is the Roman Empire. At the end time, the iron again manifests itself in the toes of the image. It is a deteriorated form mingled with clay, but still viable.

Edward Gibbon's masterpiece The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire reminds us that Rome was never destroyed but rather lost its prominence because of degradation and sin. 

This historical fact fits the clay of deterioration. 

Nonetheless, the Roman Empire will be revived in the last days through an alignment of ten Western nations, pictured by the ten toes of Daniel's image and the ten horns in the Book of Revelation. (See my book Final Mysteries Unsealed [Nashville: Word, 1998], 225 pages of verse-by-verse explanation of the Book of Daniel.) 

In verse 44 of chapter 2, Daniel says, "And in the days of these kings [the confederacy of ten Western nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." This refers to the return of Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, which we know is very near.

Consider Daniel 2:34 again: "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

What, or better who, is the stone that smashes the image when the ten Western nations have aligned themselves? 

Acts 4:11: "[Christ] is the stone which was set at nought of you builders." First Corinthians 10:4: "And that Rock [or stone] was Christ.

Since 1948, we have witnessed an amalgamation of Western nations in the form of the European Economic Community or "Common Market." The movement began with Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands joining in economic alliance. Then France, Italy, and West Germany joined in 1957. In 1972, three additional members-Denmark, England, and Ireland-were received. Then, on January 1, 1981, Greece became the ratified tenth member. However, Ireland and Denmark were never part of the old Roman Empire. 

What about them? The answer is simple. 

Daniel 7:8 states, "I considered the horns [at the end time], and, behold, there came up among them [the ten] another little horn [number 11!], before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots." Once a ten-nation Western confederacy has been formed, number eleven comes to power, plucks up three of the first ten, and replaces them with his own and two others. 

Later the majority of the globe is under his control. This leader will be the world dictator and infamous Antichrist-the final global ruler.

The organization of the European Economic Community is important because the first beast, or Antichrist of the Book of Revelation, comes out of such an alignment of Western nations. In Revelation 13:1, John says, "I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea." 

The sea speaks of nations, and the ten toes of Daniel's image and the ten horns of Revelation 13:1 describe a grouping of ten nations. Because this prophecy is now in the early stages of fulfillment, the stage is being set for a powerful world leader who works through this grouping of Western nations until he is able to assume worldwide prominence for his "greatness." We know that he will come from the West because Daniel 9:26 states that he is of the people that destroyed the city and the sanctuary. 

Who are these people?

As we have already seen, in A.D. 70, Titus, the Roman general from the Western nations of the old Roman Empire, entered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and drove a million of God's people, the Jews, to every part of the earth. Now the prophet says that it is of this people that the Antichrist shall come. With this information in hand, it becomes clear this ruler will arise from the coming together of these Western nations. This appearance of the Antichrist then leads to another important question: the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem-another major sign of Christ's return.

The Rebuilding of the Temple

The Antichrist will come into prominence and power by signing a seven-year peace contract with Israel (Daniel 9:27). Three and a half years after its signing, he will proclaim himself to be God, the true Messiah, and will set himself up as the global ruler in a temple in Jerusalem. Study carefully 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

During our visit to the Holy Land, I stood by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, walked through an arch at the end of the wall, and looked into a great hole in the earth. I observed that there the Jews are attempting to find, as they approach areas of the Dome of the Rock, the Holy of Holies of the old Temple. (Some have indicated through news reports that the Holy of Holies has already been discovered.) 

They know that the Wailing Wall is part of the old Temple area, and they say, "As soon as we find the Holy of Holies, we will try to build." Chills ran down my spine when I heard them say this, because they were speaking ancient words of prophecy in the twentieth century!

An organization called "The Association for Progress in the Rebuilding of the Holy Temple" has four objectives: 

(1) to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, 

(2) to enlist scholars to research laws and traditions relating to Temple worship, 

(3) to set up a fund to receive contributions from Jews in all nations for rebuilding, and 

(4) to enlist architects, builders, and designers to draw up the plans. 

What is preventing them from accomplishing their task? 

According to the Jewish press, the status of the organization is holding back its work because the Israeli government does not want to incite further Arab hatred. Meanwhile, Israel continues to prepare for the rebuilding of the Temple in her own way. Excavations around the Wailing Wall have outlined the boundaries of the old Temple site.

An exciting parallel to the rebuilding of the Temple concerns the $14 million Jerusalem Great Synagogue, which was dedicated August 4, 1982. Built adjoining the "Hechal Schlomo" near the intersection of King George V and Ramban Streets in the new part of Jerusalem, the edifice is only about a mile west of the old Temple site. 

The synagogue is intended as a rallying point for world Jewry and as a house of prayer. (The Lord Jesus referred to the old Temple as "the house of prayer" in Matthew 21:13.) 

Interestingly, construction of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue took seven years, plus eleven months of delays, to complete. Students of the Bible will recall that King Solomon's original Temple also took seven years to construct-with an additional eleven-month delay! 

In addition, consider the facts that 

(1) a symbolic "half shekel" offering was received from Jews around the world to finance construction costs; 

(2) the number of $50,000 donors was limited to twelve as was the number of $25,000 donors. These figures equal the number of the tribes of Israel and, combined, equal the twenty-four elders seated around Christ's throne in Revelation 4:4

(3) the synagogue presidents are limited to seventy, the number of elders who once comprised the Sanhedrin. Although the Jews prefer to call this building a synagogue rather than a temple, one of the chief rabbis insists, "We must never believe that this is a substitute for the temple"-observers note that the Great Synagogue could serve well as the Tribulation Temple. 

The building contains a symbolic Ark of the Covenant (which the actual ark could replace if or when it is discovered in the old Temple excavation) and a bema seat. The Temple is constructed of the same Jerusalem limestone as Solomon's Temple. 

Although there is no sacrificial altar at present, one could easily be constructed and made ready to use. 

Continue to read your papers and watch the day-by-day unfolding of this greatest prophecy of all-the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem-a major sign pointing to the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords who sits in His holy temple upon His arrival to earth in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.